Friday, July 22, 2011

Probably Ought to Put on the Windows

I had to go to Indiana today. While that sounds exotic; oooh, another state, given the Interstate system, it was a 90 minute drive to where I had to go. The hardest part was making sure I was driving on the right road as I'd never been to this area before today. I did what I had to do and headed back.

About 15 miles from where I had been, the sky started getting dark.
The thing is, with the sun at your back, rain clouds can look worse than they really are because sunlight is reflected off them. And, given it was a "right, "left", "right", "left", "right", to get to the main arterial, I could be driving around it. 

I had to stop for gas. I managed to not spend for things and so I had enough to purchase a half-tank of gas which is more than enough to get me home and to make it, unless I get sent other places, to next weekend when I can fill the tank after I get paid. I put in the gas and watched the clouds get more ominous. 
I still wasn't convinced, as I gassed up, that I was going to be driving into this. It's hot and humid. I want to keep the windows off. 

But as I looked around, watched the clouds and then felt an almost cold moisture laden northeast wind, I decided windows on was the better decision. When that was done, I headed north again.

This photo is blurry because I hadn't traveled more than, oh 5 miles and I hit the leading edge. The wind was ferocious, probably gusts of 35-40 mph. That rather shakes the Jeep. It got really dark, to the point that lights were needed. I crossed into Illinois and watched the storm's edge move southwest. It wasn't raining, yet. 

I drove another 10 miles before, when I got to the main road that would take me to the Interstate, I found the rain, or it found me. I slowed because the ground and sky melded into a nice gray mass. I could see the road and the taillights of the cars immediately around me, but that was about it. Waves of rain passed over us. I could feel, on a couple of occasions, the Jeep hydroplane, even at 35 mph, which was what most of us were driving. I put on 4-wheel drive. I never really felt scared even though I was in an area I did not know. I was on a 4-lane highway, going slow and I knew I was coming up on the Interstate. That meant there were overpasses where, if it got really dicey, I could pull over and just wait it out. 

I don't get why you'd want to drive 65 in this. You can barely see. I don't care if you are in a Denali, a Navigator or pulling a trailer full of lawn care equipment. You can't see any better than I can and you're kicking up a plume of water that's splashing us in the right lane. Maybe that's the point, the plume. I don't know, but I wanted to shake these people who rocketed by those of us driving cautiously in the right lane. 

Once I actually got to the Interstate and I think the blurred photo above told me I had 5 more miles to go, the heavy rain had stopped. At the junction of this road with I-80, a semi had gone straight into the grassy area at the entrance. It had obviously just happened because there was one truck driver talking to the driver of the disabled semi and no emergency vehicles there. It looked like he moved to the right and just kept going. His forward progress had been stopped by the soggy land at the clover-leaf entrance. 

We needed the rain, after days of being baked. It was interesting that, although it was a deluge and there was standing water on some of the road, it seemed to be soaking in very nicely too. Unfortunately, while there was some cooling, it didn't stay and the sun made it steamy when I got back to the office. 

I've been known, as happened a week ago Monday, to run through rain with the windows off or even the top down. Yeah, you get a bit damp but you'll dry off. When the derecho passed through, I was on the way to the office. I'm not going anywhere, so sitting in the office in damp clothes wasn't terrible. But, I decided that, because I still had at least an hour's drive ahead of me, I didn't want to be soaked to the skin. Turned out to be a very good decision. 

Beverage:  Coca-Cola


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